Since I usually can't remember what happened last weekend, pulling together a top ten stories list seemed like a good reminder of important lessons learned this year. While some of us may have found ourselves obsessed by one particular tale that transpired, I found a select number registered in my Mommy Brain as a genuine "Good Lord!" moment. Some were serious, others trivial, but they all managed to elicit big emotions.
It seems like every other week we learned of yet another toy company having to recall its China-made products for fear of lead paint poisoning. So far, millions of toys have been recalled -- Thomas the Tank Engine and Sesame Street figures among the many -- and millions of parents have freaked out. While the Chinese government investigates the issue and our federal Consumer Product Safety Commission does the same, I'll be buying wood toys made in places like Vermont and Pennsylvania.
Girls Gone Wild - The Spears Family Edition
The Spears Family Edition: Britney was a hot mess and the out-for-blood paparazzi gave everyone a front row seat. Let's be honest, the crazy antics -- shaving the head, partying all night, losing temporary custody of her two young children, stumbling through her MTV VMA show performance -- tread the razor's edge between amusing and disturbing. And just earlier this month, Britney's 16-yr-old TV star sister, Jamie Lynn, announced that she was pregnant, setting off a five-alarm firestorm of moral indignation and faux-finished concern. Somebody get that family a grip -- now!
Should Sen. Clinton win the general election in 2008, she'll be the first-ever mother to set up shop in the Oval Office. Will all the mothering skills she gathered raising daughter Chelsea help her in The World's Toughest Job? One would hope so. Meanwhile, while Americans debate whether a female can be elected president, South America appears on its way to becoming a continent where the majority of the population is led by women.
The April 16th massacre of 32 people, the worst school killing in American history, left every mother, especially those with college-aged children, breathless. I can't imagine the grief felt by the parents of those slain students -- or of the spouses and children of those teachers who were also killed.
One of the biggest news stories of the year is also the one that got me hopeful again about the power of peaceful protest.
Hearing an outraged Alec Baldwin calling his 11-yr-old daughter, Ireland, a "thoughtless little pig" on a taped phone call should be proof positive that hero worshipping movie stars and other celebrities is a really bad idea.
Elizabeth Edwards announced in March that her non-curable cancer had returned and that her husband's campaign would go on with her blessing and help. My initial reaction to his news was an emotional, knee-jerk one: Wouldn't she be wiser to stay at home with her two small children while her health was still good? I've since come to admire greatly the couple's position on this very private matter: move forward into the unknown future as a family.
Actress Katie Holmes got more media attention for having finished this same race with a respectable 5 hour-and-change time. But the real story of the day was 33-yr-old Radcliffe's, who won the race in 2 hours and 23 minutes. Nine months after I'd given birth, the only race I could win was to the nearest breakfast buffet line. Did I mention that Radcliffe's second-place competitor, Gete Wami of Ethiopia, has a four-year-old daughter?
Missouri prosecutors announced on Dec. 3rd that no criminal charges will be filed in connection to the suicide of 13-yr-old Megan Meier, who killed herself after being dumped by a fictitious MySpace boyfriend. That story's bad enough. Worse is knowing that the "real" boyfriend who did the breaking up was the mother of one of Megan's former friends, Lori Drew. What kind of insane "Mean Girls" nightmare was this woman living that she'd take the time to conjure up such a nasty ruse?
This was a fairly run-of-the-mill tale of a doomed love triangle gone way wrong. Until, that is, we learned the story of Nowak's 900-mile drive to confront her romantic rival: a disguise, a BB gun and a diaper to reduce bathroom stops along the way (the diaper detail she later denied). For a 43-year-old Navy captain, NASA astronaut and mother of three, that's some love jones, y'all.